Motorcity Nightmares 2011, The Con That Was

Phew, another Monday and another convention over. And it’s weird, when you are late in the day Sunday you are dying for it to be over, wanting to get a full night of sleep, to get some food in you, and to get back home to relax but when it’s over you miss it. You miss the excitement, you miss the people, you miss the vendors. You really miss the vendors because there are so many great people there that you get to know through the weekend and it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful because these people, strangers at first, can become good friends and allies as you both are trying to make a career out of a passion, or at least to make your passion more profitable. And I tell you what, as a teenager watching movies at home in my bedroom I never would have thought I would meet some of the horror icons I have, nor that I would be at a place where being around them is commonplace. So strange. So neat. That is why I love these things. I love them for the adventure of it.

As much as I love these shows though there is hate with it, and I will get to both.

The thing about doing shows, any sort of show, is that you have to weigh cost versus reward. You have to say to yourself – is the investment into the spot in this show, and that could be a table or just a place to set up shop, worth the money? Is there enough reward in it? I know I would do a lot more shows if I had the money to do them. For me, every time I do a show it gets me, my face, my art, and most importantly my books out there. Even if I don’t sell anything it puts my name in someone’s head. Alas, most conventions are upping their prices to the point where you all but have to be a professional to do them. I can see why, the costs are rising, and to get the big names is costing more, but in so doing that they are losing the up and coming people. Personally, as much as I like the bigger names, as far as the vendors and such, I love the indie people. They still do what they do for the love, and for the fans. The bigger you get the more it becomes about money, not always but too often. Without that mix the fans, and the show, lose the personality, and the fun. Celebs too often are aloof, and the pros are interested in the money, so the fans are basically treated as cattle. That’s no fun. But, yeah, so cost vs. reward. Sadly a lot of the conventions are going to expensive which makes someone like me have to make some hard, hard decisions. Among those is not necessarily being able to do another Motorcity Nightmares show. The vendors are fun, and the show is getting better but I know I just can’t legitimize spending more when I am not getting more. Unless they really brought in people that wanted books and authors and were interested in that I cannot keep spending more and more. Having said that though, this was the best show of the three years they have had them though.

I love that this year they got celebs that really appreciated the fans and were warm and friendly. On the last day I went around and said hello and thanked a few of them for being there just because I am a fan, and I love the work of these people and I appreciate that they wanted to be there. That means the world to me as a vendor and as a fan. And I love meeting the vendors. So many talented, fun people, it’s great to talk to them and get to know them over the weekend. The fans can be pretty awesome too. Many are there for the celebs, and that is understandable, but as the days wear on you do get to meet some great people who are willing to take a chance on us indie people, and that is great. Means the world to me. The layout of the show was definitely bigger this year and it helped to make it feel much more roomy and more like an event. And the bigger you make the show feel, the bigger the show is. I like that there were movies going on all weekend. I wish they had bigger movies but understand and appreciate that this is about indie movies, and that’s fine. Be fun to see some of the films the guests were in…though that may not be viable/legal. And I will say that the guy they got to just dress in different costumes and wander around the con was great. Very, very good stuff and he added a lot.

I think what bothered me was the pricing. I hemmed and hawed over getting a table for a while and when I did I got an email that day telling me I could get the table for less. It was too late, I had sent my money, and the only offer I was given was that I would get a ‘prime spot’. Well, I didn’t. I got the same spot as other people who paid less than me and had to have people set up behind me selling used books, used CDs, and novelty Halloween crap. The good thing was that it put me next to some awesome people that were fun to hang with all weekend but to know I was promised something and didn’t get it bothers me. Could I have nagged them? Sure, but I shouldn’t have to. That is the kind of thing where you note it on the sheet of where people will sit and you make sure they do right by you. I have a friend who signed on later than I did and dicker and dealt his way into paying less and getting a genuinely prime spot. That really bothers me. The thing that really gets me too is that several of the guests canceled their appearance and were never mentioned on the Facebook or website so that fans who came to see those people were cheated out of that experience. I cannot believe that five professionals canceled at the last second so it’s a cheat to fans to not tell them these people were not going to be there. They have done it before and every time they do this at the show they harm their credibility.

The after party stuff is fun but just not for me. It’s a part of these shows that I just don’t do well at. I don’t mingle well, I don’t drink, and drunken shenanigans get old to me. Same goes for the hotel having a bar outside of the show. I dig people want to drink but as a vendor I hate trying to compete with liquor because I will always lose that battle.

Overall a very fun weekend and a definite step forward for this convention (Michigan’s only horror con until this Fall) but not one I can see myself repeating. With one last major book to be released before I stop releasing indefinitely I have to think long and hard on whether I want to do this show again. Next year is about getting the books out there and making a last push, and I am not sure I can do it at Motorcity Nightmares, not for the price they have. They need to really work on making the vendors feel wanted and necessary. Too many empty tables to warrant the price I paid, for sure.
Time will tell.

Pictures from the con to come.

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